The Altoona Brass Collective Presents

Hymns & Holidays

Pick up your copy of ABC’s “Hymns & Holidays” at one of our local partner businesses:

Cash or Checks made payable to “Altoona Brass Collective” ONLY

Bandman Rental & Repair

Hymns & Holidays (Compact Disc)

Hymns & Holidays (Digital Download)

Hymns & Holidays (Single Tracks)

Hymns (Digital Download)

Flourishes on A Mighty Fortress Is Our God*

Amazing Grace (FREE with coupon code)

It Is Well With My Soul

Be Thou My Vision

On Eagle’s Wings

Holidays (Digital Download)

Episodes on In Dulci Jubilo

Angels By Moonlight

Go, Tell It On The Mountain!

Fantasia on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

1. Flourishes on A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

EINE FESTE BURG (Martin Luther)/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

* In memory of Mr. Thomas Nagy (1963 – 2019)

2. Amazing Grace

NEW BRITAIN (Anon. English Tune)/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

3. It Is Well With My Soul

Philip P. Bliss/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

4. Be Thou My Vision

SLANE (Trad. Irish Folktune)/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

5. On Eagle’s Wings

Fr. Michael Joncas/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

©1979, 2020, OCP. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

6. Episodes on In Dulci Jubilo

Medieval Christmas Carol/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

7. Angels By Moonlight

GLORIA (Trad. French Carol)/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

8. Go, Tell It On The Mountain!

Trad. 19th-Cent. American Melody/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal

9. Fantasia on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Based on a Medieval Plainchant/S. Pappal

10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane/Setting & Arr. by S. Pappal.

Used with permission: EMI APRIL MUSIC INC. OBO EMI FEIST CATALOG INC. 

Notes

Flourishes on A Mighty Fortress Is Our God is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Thomas Nagy, a dear friend of ABC. Mr. Nagy was a longtime dedicated music educator and music advocate who positively impacted the lives of everyone who had the privilege to know him. ABC’s setting opens with a brilliant fanfare section, followed immediately by the hymn proper, which is traded antiphonally between the trumpet/trombone group and the horn/euphonium/tuba group. A reprise of the fanfare section moves through several key centers while fragments of the melody interrupt one another at increasingly shorter intervals. This is followed by a broad reharmonization of the chorale, with the low brass’ ascending line building intensity while the horns play a descant. A final statement of the fanfare concludes the piece.

Amazing Grace is certainly the most widely known hymn on planet Earth; it has been translated into over one-hundred languages, and has been sung on every continent. The first verse of ABC’s setting shines a spotlight on the trombone section playing in glorious three-part harmony and using a three-octave range! Flugelhornist Scott Sheehan presents the second verse with a jazz ballad-inspired flair, before a modulation into the triumphant final verse is presented by the entire ensemble.

It Is Well With My Soul was written by Philip P. Bliss, and is most widely associated with a text penned by Horatio Spafford that begins, “When peace like a river attendeth my soul…” In direct contrast to “On Eagle’s Wings,” it is the verses in this setting which proceed in a crescendo of complexity and added counterlines. The chorus itself — “It is well, with my soul” — is always presented simply, softly, and in unison, as if its essential calm is impervious to any disturbance.

Be Thou My Vision opens with the melody stated plainly by unison horns, which are soon joined by a euphonium countermelody. The flugelhorns take over the lead in verse two, accompanied in three-part harmony by trombones over the tubas’ pedal point. After a modulating crescendo led by the low brass, the trumpets play a soaring descant over the flugelhorns and horns. The piece ends very introspectively with a final statement by the conical brass (flugelhorns, horns, euphoniums, and tubas), echoed by muted cylindrical brass (trumpets and trombones). This is a favorite tone-color contrast device in ABC.

On Eagle’s Wings is a greatly beloved hymn in both the Catholic and Protestant faith traditions. It is the “youngest” original musical material on this album, penned by Fr. Michael Joncas in the late ‘70s. Joncas is currently on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The verses in ABC’s version feature different combinations of instruments for variety of tone color, while the chorus sections continue to build throughout with increasing assurance.

Episodes on In Dulci Jubilo will be recognized by most listeners as “Good Christian, Rejoice.” This setting opens with a fanfare, and is followed by a series of “episodic” statements of the melody, first by the trumpet/flugelhorn section, and then by the trombones. The various sections are joined together in rondo-fashion by a rollicking 6/8 motif that’s tossed back and forth between the horns, flugelhorns, and trumpets. A contrasting “B” section, featuring the horns, is built around “I Saw Three Ships,” before the “A” theme returns, this time in counterpoint with the rondo theme.

Angels By Moonlight is based on the traditional French carol, “Angels, We Have Heard on High.” After an opening homage to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” by the horn section, the low brass presents the melody accompanied by a bell-pealing trumpet section. A more lyrical, introspective section follows, in which the melody is reharmonized and the conical brass instruments are featured. Suddenly, an eruption of funk occurs, where antiphonal statements of the melody are traded across the ensemble and punctuated by interruptions by a solo Eb cornet, all over an acrobatic and virtuosic tuba ostinato! After a tongue-in-cheek reference to Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” the full melody returns, accompanied by lightning-fast ascending scalar work in the trumpet section to build to an exciting funk-flavored finish.

Go, Tell It On The Mountain is in traditional “gospel” form, i.e., verse/chorus/verse/chorus/etc. The various sections feature different combinations of the ensemble. The trumpet and euphonium sections are featured in the opening chorus, and a repeat of the chorus offers a spotlight on the tuba section and the trumpets. Verse one features the horn section, while verse two showcases the flugelhorn of Scott Sheehan in musical conversation with trumpeters Larry Detwiler and Alex Schwind. The horns then present a brief interlude of “Mary Had A Baby” before a final chorus of the original melody.

Fantasia on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel is also known as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It is the oldest musical source material on this album, dating back nearly 1200 years! Scott Pappal’s fantasia incorporates the tune throughout, beginning with a widely spaced exploration of the melody’s modal nature. A rhythmic ostinato-driven verse and a fugal, quasi-baroque three-part counterpoint verse are both interrupted boldly in the same manner as the opening section — with a Mahleresque “Rejoice! Rejoice!” by the entire brass choir. Finally, the joyful nature of the original melody can be suppressed no longer, and re-emerges over major tonality in the trombones and horns, accompanied by trumpet fanfares. The piece ends with quiet optimism and assuredness.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas was written in one evening by ABC’s arranger, Scott Pappal: “I sat at my piano, alone, and thought of my incredible friends in the ensemble, and everything they meant to me, both musically and personally. As I reflected, I played — almost in improvisatory fashion — and wrote down what I played. The arrangement just flowed naturally, with an arc from a warm opening to a middle section featuring the trombones and a playful ‘snowfall’ idea from the

Personnel

Conductor / Percussion

Doug Stephens

Trumpets

Larry Detwiler

Alex Schwind

Charles Prijatelj (E sop./piccolo)

Jeremy Hetrick

Anastazia Hall

Scott Sheehan (flugelhorn)

Horns

Scott Pappal

Kelly Myers

Trombones

Rob Keith

Jack Sears

Patrick Sachse

Drew Yingling (bass)

Euphoniums

Steve Rodgers

Bradley Scherden

Ian Adams

Tubas

Kris Laird

Jerry Berry

Dylan Albright

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

  • Dave Villani, Recording Engineer/Data Music Services
  • Lisa Bontrager, Producer
  • Wendy Jo Nagy, Contributor
  • Kelly Myers, Cover Art Design
  • David Snyder, Webmaster/Ingenuity Media 
  • Dr. Robert Gildea & Board of Directors; Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School/Recording Location

The Altoona Brass Collective

Band History

The Altoona Brass Collective was formed in 2017 by musicians in the central Pennsylvania area sharing a love of brass instruments, quality music, and live performance. All of ABC’s repertoire has been written specifically for the ensemble. The members of the band have strong local ties, having attended the music schools of Clarion University, Duquesne University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, and Slippery Rock University. These musicians are school administrators, music educators, music merchants, studio teachers, freelance performers, and business owners with a common goal: To bring high-quality live music to Central Pennsylvania.